Friday, February 12, 2010

Where's the time gone?

My, my. What started stong and consumed my time was quickly put on the back burner and simmered for what has now been nearly seven months! Apparently, I need to have a time management expert write an article for RHBirmingham and take plenty of notes. With JigJog Kids, khaki girls, keeping nephews, the birth of a niece and activities with Civiettes my plate is full. There's also the matter of getting the taxes to the accountant...
Anyway. Here's an update on me and my plans for RHBirmingham. I had every intention of doing a back to school issue, then a Christmas issue, then an Easter issue. Well, Easter may be more attainable if I can get going on it and draw from all my contacts. Let's put that in the "Work in Progress" pile and move on.
For whatever reason I was watching Oprah, something I rarely have time to do, and Alicia Silverstein was on, talking about her new book The Kind Diet. She was talking about "flirting" with a vegan lifestyle, then moving on into something called "super hero". I was instantly vegan-curious, which is saying something if you've ever seen me and a NY strip at the same table, and bought the book. The more I read, the more things made sense. "Organic" began to mean more than a label on a package. My view on organics was, "Well, if it is a vegetable, it is organic, right? I mean, there's no such thing as a 'man-made' vegetable." But with all the crap they spray on the crops and the fact that the people that make Round-Up weed killer also produces Round-Up resitant seeds so that the plant isn't affected by the weed killer, but it soaks it up. YUM! "Yes, I'd like some corn and a side of herbacide, please" is not something I've ever thought, much less uttered in my life. Eat locally grown foods and eat them in season. Makes sense to me.
On I read, cover to cover, soaking up all those vegan vibes, going over the recipes and salivating. "Okay," I thought. "I can do this. I can do anything for thirty days. Let's see how I feel the first week of March."
Now. Although I am an animal lover and am embracing this culinary lifestyle, you won't find me at the next PETA rally or protesting the Big Mac. (Lord, can I put away one of those!) I still believe that people should eat what they want and carry the consequences of it. Who knows what my cholesterol level is or what my arteries look like? If they are not where they should be, health-wise, I have to honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed every bite of red meat and every pat of butter that got them there.
So, this past Monday, I stopped for my last Quarter Pounder with cheese for a while and, armed with a list of things for the well stocked vegan, pulled in to Fresh Market on a mission. Fresh collard greens: check. Pumpkin seeds: check. Raw sunflower seeds for toasting: check. Leeks: check. Nori: nope. Shoya: nope. Quinoa: nope. Brown or black sesame seeds: the clerk looked at me like I had a parrot on my head. Burdock: what the crap is burdock?
Feeling only slight failure I trekked further down the 280 corridor to Whole Foods. I'm not knocking whole foods or their clientele, but there are some strange birds in that joint. I attempted to look like I shopped there all the time and grabbed a buggy. Found my sesame seeds, put them in the brown bag. No label. Grabbed a blank label off a roll that was sitting there, obviously for the purpose of closing said bag and writing what is in it on the label. Yes! I'm right. There is a grease pencil sitting right there. See? I can pull this off, I thought smugly. These hippies got nothin' on me!
Organic apple juice that isn't grossly over priced goes in to my buggy. There's the nori, shoya and udon noodles! That was on my list, too! And there's the quinoa. Brown rice syrup and maple syrup for my sweet tooth. Rice milk, forgot to get that at Whole Foods or WalMart, so into the buggy it goes. Checking off my list I come across burdock again. This must be a root vegetable. Still a little smug I head back over to produce. I slowly peruse every sign and examine every type of veg on display. No burdock. Again, I go slowly, looking, reading, trying to be covert so as not to alert the staff that there is an actual meat eater going thru the produce. Still no burdock. Slowly, I go up and down every aisle from nuts and seeds to wine. Nada. Finally, a nice young man sporting both tattoos and dreadlocks asked me if he could help me find anything. The smug part of me was screaming, "No, no, no! We're just looking!!!!" but the rational side kicked in and I asked for a mortar and pestle. (Well, I do need one to make the sesame seed and sea salt seasoning mix that Alicia assures me I will absolutely love.) They didn't have one in stock, so I broke down and asked for burdock. "Oh, you want the tea or the powder?" Well, crap. How do I know? I mean, he's the resident vegan in this conversation, not me, obviously, because the delicate aroma of QP with cheese is still oozing out of my pores. "Tea," I say confidently, then "I didn't see it when I was looking at the teas earlier" just for good measure. "I was just about to stock some. Here it is right here," he says. Whew. That was close.
At check out, I was informed that there is a four digit code on all the seeds and nuts and that is what I should have written on my bag of sesame seeds, but other than that slight hiccup, I was able to get out of there with only a mild sticker shock induced apoplexy. I trekked back up 280 towards home and unloaded my bounty and tried to figure out what to do with all this stuff.
I have to say. So far so good. I'm not totally manic over the lack of any meat or dairy, but it is only day four. My husband is still considering having me checked out by a doctor for my absolute refusal to back down from what he is sure to be a temporary phase. As he so sweetly put it while looking over the menu at Tavern on the Summit, "If I knew you really weren't eating meat, I could have taken you to just any restaurant tonight. Are you sure you don't want the prime rib?" Thanks, Honey.
So. I will update this with my path to a kind life from time to time over the next 26 days and I do recommend The Kind Diet to anyone considering going vegan or just looking for some healthy alternatives and recipes to round out your meal planning. Even now I realize I'm getting slightly hooked on some of the things I've tried lately. As I am watching the snow continue to fall I am trying to decide if I want some warm quinoa with maple syrup or a nice hot cup of miso soup.